Dune

Author Frank Herbert, Frank Herbert, Frank Herbert
Published 2019
Pages 688
ISBN 9780340839935
Links Goodreads

Brian

October 2nd, 2020–December 30th, 2020

★★★★★

2020 review:

My first read, I quit after a hundred pages. Second read, I respected it. Third read, I loved it.

I'll need to think about it more to decide why it clicked this time with me. It was the same for Melissa, so maybe it's simply better as a re-read, or possibly because of some way we've changed in the past four years.

2016 review:

If you said, “Name a clas­sic sci-fi novel”, I would prob­a­bly say, “Dune”. I’ve felt ob­lig­ated to read it for years, and did start it once only to quit about a hun­dred pages in. The same thing nearly hap­pened again; in the mid­dle of the book I lost in­ter­est and set it aside for a month or two. And yet, you can see that I’ve rated Dune five stars out of five. So what gives?

The num­ber one strength of Dune is it’s set­ting. Save Tolkien, I can’t think of a book that builds a uni­verse so con­vinc­ingly. Her­bert’s world-build­ing—the Em­pire, the Bene Ges­sarit, and above all the ecol­ogy of the epony­mous planet Dune—cap­ture the imag­i­na­tion.

Her­bert also writes “deeply”, caus­ing you to pon­der (among other themes) re­li­gion, moral­ity, and des­tiny ver­sus choice.

I think the writ­ing it­self is good, not “clunky” as I’ve heard it de­scribed. I think it was Ben de Bono who ob­served that Her­bert makes you feel both that you’re read­ing a novel, see­ing char­ac­ter mo­ti­va­tions, etc., while at the same time read­ing a his­tory book and get­ting a “big pic­ture” per­spec­tive. This method works ef­fec­tively for Dune.

So why did I have a hard time get­ting through the book?

I think it’s be­cause the story it­self is fairly stan­dard. The world and the geopol­i­tics are what’s in­ter­est­ing rather than what the char­ac­ters are do­ing in the chap­ter. And that’s not a bad thing; not every book needs to be a char­ac­ter-fo­cused drama. But it does make for a slower read.

Al­though not a short book, Dune feels like just the setup for an epic. I was­n’t ini­tially sure I was go­ing to read any se­quels; af­ter fin­ish­ing the book and ru­mi­nat­ing, I’ve de­cided I will.

Melissa

October 1st, 2017–November 5th, 2017

★★★★★

Update 1/1/21: Check out my reviews below real quick, and then jump back up here. It will drive home the point I wish to make, that this is not a book you read just once. You read it, read about it, read it again, listen to discussions about it, and then read it some more. And each time, you’re furt

Melissa

December 30th, 2020